AILA Research Network: Migration Linguistics

Migration Linguistics

Ariane Macalinga Borlongan
Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (Japan)

Lisa Lim
Curtin University (Perth, Australia)

Loy Lising
Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia)

Nicanor Guinto
Southern Luzon State University (Lucena, the Philippines)


The contemporary world is constantly on the move. And the present times have appropriately been called ‘the Age of Migration’ (de Haas, Castles, & Miller, 2020). One in every seven people in the world is a migrant (International Organization for Migration, 2022). Migration has been an important characteristic of globalization and modernity, and is integral to sustainable development and social transformation. And language is at the heart of migration (Borlongan, 2023). The International Organization for Migration (2019) considers language as “one of the most central aspects for migrants’ inclusion by both the receiving society and migrants themselves” [emphasis added] (p. 192).

Migration linguistics is therefore a truly relevant and timely endeavor within the broader discipline of applied linguistics. Our Research Network on migration linguistics was established to be able to adequately respond to the linguistic challenges of migrants around the world, and our Research Network thus have the following aims: First, it theorizes on language as it is used, acquired, and learned in the context of the migration process. Second, it describes the various factors and patterns relating to language within the migration process. Third, it investigates on language within the context of migration using interdisciplinary perspectives and methodologies. Fourth, it provides practical solutions to the issues and problems related to language confronting migrants. And lastly, it engages various stakeholders of language and migration. Indeed,  the nexus of migration and language is a very important concern not only for the community of scholars (interdisciplinary) but also for the community of nations (international), too. More than simply being a forum for research on migration linguistics, the activities of the Research Network has been a venue for dialogues on language issues of migrants.

The first activity of our Research Network was a symposium with the theme Linguistic Challenges in Contemporary Global Migration: The Evolving Field of Migration Linguistics convened by Ariane Borlongan, Lisa Lim, and Nicanor Guinto during 20th World Congress of AILA held from July 17 to 21, 2023 in Lyon, France. A total of five presentations from Australia, Israel, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan were delivered during the said symposium.

In the coming months, our Research network will also be publishing an AILA Review special issue titled Multilingualism and Mobility in the Twenty-First Century: New Trajectories and Possibilities in Migration Linguistics, edited by Ariane Borlongan and Lisa Lim. The special issue contains a total of nine contributions written by scholars from leading scholars in applied linguistics and migration linguistics.

In the upcoming 60th Anniversary World Congress of AILA, our Research Network is organizing the symposium titled The Role of Language and Migration in Development and Sustainability, convened by Ariane Borlongan, Lisa Lim, Nicanor Guinto, and Loy Lising. It  is a multimodal symposium which includes twelve paper presentations as well as a dictionary demonstration, poetry recital, conversation with a migrant artist, and a performance exhibition. Since our Research Network collaborates closely with the United Nations (UN) International Organization for Migration (IOM), there will also be an update from the organization regarding current concerns of migrants around the world, particularly those relating to language.

Later this year, our research Network will also be organizing a winter school at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (Japan). The winter school aims to train future generation of migration linguists and will feature key lectures and master classes from distinguished scholars from around the world and students will have the opportunity to present their current work to receive feedback from winter school instructors as well as their fellow students. Right after the winter school, the very first International Conference on Migration Linguistics will be held and will convene not only academics but also various stakeholders of migration from around the world. It will have the keynote and plenary lectures as well as parallel sessions and will also feature roundtable discussion with practitioners and migrants.

Our research Network is also very active in social media. Materials such as articles, photographs, videos, and links to other resources are made available in our various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for fast dissemination of information not only among academics but other stakeholders as well. In particular, lectures are uploaded in our YouTube channel for archiving and access of interested viewers.